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Clinical Mental Health Counseling

The MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling requires completion of a minimum total of 60 credit hours, including 48 semester hours of academic courses, plus an additional 12 credits of supervised practicum and internship.

This program gives graduates the opportunity to sit for the licensing examination and apply for licensure as a Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) for the state of Massachusetts, and parallel licenses, such as the LPC in Connecticut and other states.


REQUIRED CORE COURSES: PSY501, PSY535, PSY620, PSY625, PSY658, PSY660, PSY662, PSY664, PSY665, PSY680, PSY696, PSY697, PSY698
ELECTIVE COURSES (CHOOSE 7): PSY540, PSY550, PSY552, PSY654, PSY657, PSY663, PSY671, PSY672, PSY673

Courses are offered 100% online or a combination of online and on campus (offered in either ConcordEast Longmeadow, or Sturbridge, Massachusetts)

Curriculum & Schedules

Code Course Name Credit Hours
PSY501 Human Growth & Development 3

Examine the nature and needs of individuals at all developmental stages of life. Understand the major theories of physical, cognitive, affective, and social development and their application to Mental Health Counseling practice with attention to the impact of cultural and environmental factors.

PSY535 Ethics & Professional Conduct in Counseling 3

This course is designed to provide students with a practical awareness of ethical standards and codes of conduct in the field of psychology. Students will review and critically analyze case studies which incorporate such topics as ethical decision making, informed consent, confidentiality, boundary and relationship issues, professional competence, supervision, and multicultural and diversity issues. Students will demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the standards set by the code of ethics of the American Counseling Association and the American Mental Health Counselors Association, and of licensure and regulatory practices.

PSY540 Individual and Family Treatment of Substance Abuse Disorders 3

This course will focus on the principles of substance use counseling. Substance use counseling theories, orientations and treatment models will be evaluated for effectiveness. Students will learn, discuss and practice different facilitation styles and approaches to individual, family and special population’s substance use counseling. Role playing will be utilized to demonstrate appropriate skill development as it relates to substance use counseling. This class, including role playing, will provide opportunities for students to apply theoretical knowledge to clinical situations.

PSY550 Family Systems 3

This course will focus on family dynamics and family systems. Various family systems theorists such as Minuchin, Satir, and Haley will be reviewed and discussed. Specific attention will be given to issues of substance use within the family, including both working with someone with primary substance use and the effects of substance use on family structure. Students will be given the opportunity to practice various systemic interventions that promote healthy psychological development within the family system. The impact of culture, gender, and sexual identity will be examined.

PSY552 Bullying & Coercive Behavior 3

This course will examine the overwhelming evidence of how this anti-social behavior impacts the youth of today at home, in school, and in the community. Students will investigate the causes and kinds of bullying as well as how parenting styles either contribute to or empower the child against bullying. Strategies for the educator, psychology professional, and parent will be studied.

PSY620 Psychopathology 3

This course provides the students with an advanced understanding of relevant nomenclature and psychopathology from a developmental, biological, psychodynamic, cognitive, behavioral, interpersonal, and family/systems perspective. Students will learn how to interpret the multiaxial system of assessment and understand coding and reporting procedures outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV-TR that are utilized in making a diagnosis of a mental disorder. Students will incorporate relevant research and case studies throughout the course to integrate the various perspectives within a clinical context.

PSY625 Applied Research Methods in Counseling 3

This course addresses research design and methodology as used by developmental psychologists. Emphasis is on the use of experimental and quasi-experimental designs, confounding factors that may bias results, assessment strategies, and data evaluation methods. By the completion of this course, the student will have formulated a research proposal, and will have completed a Community-Based Research Project.

PSY654 Drugs, Medication & Society 3

This course will help the student understand the most commonly prescribed medications that are used in connection with behavioral health today. Current trends in psychopharmacological intervention will be studied and how such drugs will impact cognition, judgment, emotions, and motivation in the developing brain. In addition to commonly prescribed behavioral health medications, the use and abuse of mood altering chemicals will be discussed along with the nature and process of addictive drug seeking behaviors.

PSY657 Counseling & Co-Occurring Disorders 3

This course will enable the student to learn those counseling techniques and skills that are essential for working with clients who suffer from co-occurring disorders such as addiction and mental health problems. Students will develop an understanding of how clients can self-medicate underlying mental health and emotional problems by means of illicit drug use and abuse. With this understanding, the student will learn how to develop effective treatment plans for clients with co-occurring disorders.

PSY658 Psychological Assessment in Counseling 3

Students will learn to administer and interpret standardized assessments and screening tools used for the evaluation of infants, children, adolescents, adults, and the aging. Students will learn specific screening tools for substance use disorders as well as in-depth standardized assessments for alcohol and drug use. The course will focus on cognitive, projective and personality instruments as well as assessment of substance use disorders and attitude surveys. The importance of accurate report writing, as well as observational and interview skills will be emphasized.

PSY660 Social & Cultural Foundations 3

This course is designed to provide students with an understanding of the various theories, issues and trends of providing counseling in a multi-cultural and diverse society. Foundational knowledge and skill needed to provide mental health counseling services to diverse populations in a culturally diverse manner will be the core structure of this course of study. Such theorists as Monica McGoldrick will be reviewed for impact on current thinking and implications for mental health counseling.

PSY662 Counseling Theories & Practice 3

This course is designed to provide students with a broad understanding of the theory and application of contrasting theoretical models of counseling and forming helping relationships. Students will examine the theory and application of various counseling models through lecture, presentations, group discussion, experiential activities, readings and reflection. This course will address the therapeutic process and practical elements of the counseling interaction, and assist students in strengthening their own personal approach to the helping relationship. In addition, it will challenge students to conceptualize their own qualities that support and hinder the therapeutic helping relationship.

PSY663 Career Development: Theory and Practice 3

This course will focus on the dynamic relationship that can exist between a person’s culture and other related and associated issues in the employment arena. Topics will focus on career counseling, occupational development theories, educational planning, market research and vocational assessment tools as well as the use of technology as a tool in career counseling. Case studies will also be utilized.

PSY664 Counseling Skills & Techniques 3

This course will guide the students to a more refined level of the helping relationship while building on the skills learned in PSY 662. Students will develop a solid understanding of the helping relationship by learning intensive listening skills and the effectiveness of attending to the client. Students will also gain a deeper understanding of their own communication styles as they relate to such dynamics as culture, body language, vocal qualities and attitude.

PSY665 Group Dynamics & Mental Health Counseling 3

This course will focus on the principles of group dynamics and group members’ roles and behaviors, and therapeutic factors of group therapeutic work. Students will talk about group leadership and different facilitation styles and approaches to group counseling. Students will learn specific models and techniques relevant to group treatment for substance use disorders, including use of motivational interviewing. Group counseling theories, orientations and behaviors will be evaluated for effectiveness. Role playing will be utilized to demonstrate appropriate skill development as it relates to mental health group work.

PSY671 Theories and Models of Trauma & Attachment 3

This 3 credit class will provide the student with a comprehensive understanding of the foundation of trauma theory and therapy, attachment theory and the relationship to trauma, history and current theories in the field, the nature of trauma (examples including abuse and exploitation, combat trauma, natural disasters and community trauma, and familiar and covert trauma), how trauma affects individuals and systems, grief reactions, and traumatic stress. Also included in this class, is the exploration of the professional’s response to trauma, vicarious re-traumatization, crisis intervention, comorbid disorders and post-modern treatment. Additional topics will include special populations, as well as cultural competence within trauma practice.
Prerequisite: PSY664

PSY672 Neurobiology of Trauma 3

In this 3 credit class, students will build upon foundational knowledge and theory to provide a bio-diverse understanding of the effects of complex trauma on brain chemistry, functioning and anatomy of the brain, and brain development, within the context of attachment, affect regulation, normative brain development, and trauma disruption. Class materials will address the functions of brain areas that are involved in responding to traumatic events; how the brain and body respond to traumatic events; the influence of traumatic events on memory processes; common emotional and behavioral responses to trauma; and how to effectively work with trauma survivors We will examine common trauma symptomatology and presentations that arise from these disruptions across the lifespan, including understanding the functionality of disassociation. Additionally, students will review a range of evidence-based interventions that can help positively impact the neurophysiological effects of trauma in youth and adults, with an emphasis on achieving functionality and health within the whole self. Life span work will be incorporated, as well as co-morbid medical presentations and how to engage your clients with understandable explanations of the link between mental health disorders and biology.
Prerequisite: PSY 664

PSY673 Advanced Techniques in Treating Acute/Complex Trauma 3

This 3 credit advanced treatment course will build upon PSY 672 and provide students with skills for the practical application of trauma therapy within practice settings, including understanding diagnostic criteria and the spectrum of trauma-based presentations, diagnostic clarity within the trauma lens, treatment planning with the trauma client, ethical applications of crisis intervention with trauma clients, sociopolitical and cultural factors in the diagnosis and treatment of trauma, discharge planning. Course work will address current best practices in the treatment of trauma with families, adults, and children, including the models empirically supported by APA practice guidelines (EMDR, TF-CBT, ARC therapy, IFS, CBT, CPT, NET). Additionally, auxiliary skill models to support Trauma therapy will be discussed, including DBT, medication management, and MBSR. Coursework will include evaluating cultural competence of practice skills and special populations.
Prerequisite: PSY 664

PSY680 Counseling Practicum & Seminar 3

This pre- master’s clinical 100-hour Practicum experience is required of all CMHC students. 40 hours are spent in role-playing counseling exercises with peers, 25 hours in a combination of individual and group supervision, and 35 hours in counseling-related independent study. The scope of this experience will include practice of counseling skills, review of ethics and professional issues, and exploration of clinical supervision including ways in which a student’s personal life experience interacts with their role as a counselor. Total hours of practicum, including supervision, contact hours, and independent study hours, are structured to comply with Massachusetts LMHC licensure requirements, and also meet Connecticut LPC eligibility requirements.

PSY696 Counseling Internship & Seminar I 3

This 200-hour internship experience will take place in a clinical setting and will afford students the opportunity to work in a professional counseling environment. Students will become oriented to policies and procedures of their chosen placement. Students will observe and gradually become involved in the provision of a wide range of clinical mental health services. They will have direct contact with clients, and will receive individual supervision from their agency supervisor. Group supervision meetings will be held twice per semester at Bay Path University. Total hours of internship, including supervision and direct contact hours, are structured to comply with Massachusetts LMHC licensure requirements, and also meet Connecticut LPC eligibility requirements. Prerequisite: PSY 680

PSY697 Counseling Internship & Seminar II 3

This 200-hour internship experience will continue to enhance the counseling skills as experienced within the context of Counseling Internship I and will continue to afford students the opportunity to work under direct clinical supervision with individuals who seek mental health support. Students will enhance their professional counseling skills, gradually working more independently, including conducting assessments, determining DSM diagnoses, formulating treatment plans, and providing counseling to individuals and groups. Students will receive individual supervision from their agency supervisor. Group supervision meetings will be held twice per semester at Bay Path University. Total hours of internship, including supervision and direct contact hours, are structured to comply with Massachusetts LMHC licensure requirements, and also meet Connecticut LPC eligibility requirements.

PSY698 Counseling Internship & Seminar III 3

This 200-hour internship experience continues to afford students the opportunity to work with individuals who seek mental health support and counseling. Students practice their counseling skills in the most diverse range of services offered at their agency. At this point in the internship, students are expected to have achieved a level of mastery that allows for them to engage in more intensive and independent work. Students will receive individual supervision from their agency supervisor. Group supervision meetings will be held twice per semester at Bay Path University. Total hours of internship, including supervision and direct contact hours, are structured to comply with Massachusetts LMHC licensure requirements, and also meet Connecticut LPC eligibility requirements.